Wednesday, September 9, 2009 | 2:22 PM
One of our readers gave us a timely tip to include Google Domestic Trends, a new feature within Google Finance, on our list of interesting tools for the public sector.
Hal Varian, our Chief Economist, spoke today at the Gov 2.0 Summit about the general topic of real time economics and wrote a blog post announcing Domestic Trends:
Google Domestic Trends tracks Google search traffic across specific sectors of the economy. The changes in the search volume of a given sector on google.com may provide useful economic insight. We've created 23 indexes that track the major economic sectors, such as retail, auto and unemployment.
For example, the Google Luxuries Index tracks queries like [jewelry], [rings], [diamond], [ring], [jewelers], [tiffany] and so forth. As you can see from the screenshot below, this index has seasonal spikes in December — however, in the last two years there has been a pronounced decrease as the recession made consumers wary of spending on luxury items.
Read more about this on the Google Finance Blog, and be sure to check out the Google Research Blog for info on Hal's research on using Google Trends data to predict economic activities.